One of Australia’ most famous outback experiences, the Birdsville Races, is on again from August 31 to September 1. This is the 136th edition of the event and you can bet there’ be plenty of fun to be had. Between watching the horses, indulging in food and alcohol, and then (if you’ re game) checking out Fred Brophy’ boxing troupe, there is something for all. A two-day racing pass starts from $69.90. Head to www. birdsvilleraces.com for more information.
The Top End capital of Darwin will hold its annual Festival over 18 days, kicking off on August 9 and finishing on August 26. The Festival is chokkas with events and attractions, including outdoor concerts with local and overseas entertainers, theatre, dance, live comedy, music, film, workshops and plenty more. Free performances will take place at Festival Park and various venues throughout Darwin. Being able to pick and choose what events you go and see – and then spending any downtime exploring Darwin and surrounds – makes for a great experience. For more information, visit: darwinfestival.org.au.
Based out of Broken Hill and running from September 26-29, the Outback Challenge is the ideal event for those keen to watch some of this country’ most skilled off-road drivers and navigators. Navigating via GPS and chasing hundreds of virtual waypoints along each stage, teams also have to be self-sufficient (carrying their own food, spares and all other gear) with the event guaranteed to test the toughest rigs. The last stage – the 150km Mad Max – is a brutal but spectacular way to finish the competition. A combo of driving, navigation, endurance and strategy, this is a must-see. Visit www.outbackchallenge.com.au for more info.
A Taste of Eyre Peninsula is held between August 14 and 16 and takes place in Cleve on South Australia’ Eyre Peninsula. The event showcases an eclectic variety of local food and wine, plus there’ live music and spectacular views of one of South Australia’ most beautiful regions for visitors to check out. Guests can try and buy a delicious selection of seafood, meats, small goods, wine, baked items, olives, olive oil, honey, condiments, fruit, nuts and much more. For more information, check out: exploreeyrepeninsula.com. au/industry/a-taste-of-eyrepeninsula.
Kakadu National Park is a bloody big place, but it can still get crowded at some of the more easily-accessed campgrounds – especially this time of year. For those looking for a quintessential bush camping experience, however, there are still some out-of-theway sites you can pitch a tent at. Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge) and Bilkbilkmi (Graveside Gorge) are both pristine and make for great overnight stays, but you need a permit to access these areas for camping. It’s not too hard, but be aware these areas can be closed for cultural purposes at certain times of year. Go to www.environment.gov.au/node/33435 for more info.
Do yourself a favour and catch this fun event in the town of Windorah, in western Queensland. The Yabby Races will be held on Wednesday, August 18. As well as the fastpaced action of the races, including the Barcoo Bolt, Kyabra Kanter and the big one, the Cooper Cup, there’s a ton of entertainment. The event is also a fundraiser for the Royal Flying Doctors Service. See www.outbackqueensland.com.au/event/windorahinternational-yabby-races.
East Kunderang Homestead, built in the 1890s, is a brilliant home-away-fromhome for off-road tourers keen to explore the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Since its restoration, NSW National Parks has offered the homestead as accommodation for families or larger groups. To suss out booking information, visit: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-andaccommodation/accommodation/east-kunderang-homestead.